Today I had a meeting with someone at The Buttery in Malvern (one of my favorite places). On my way out of the door, I realized I had not been able to make the opening over the weekend of the brand spanking new gallery that opened on King in Malvern.
And there it was, across the street.
So I crossed King (carefully, today pedestrians in the crosswalks were largely invisible and ignored by drivers – Malvern PD can you do some enforcement?) and cheated on my Malvern favorite, JAM Gallery.
In my own defense, I love local art and I love welcoming galleries even more. And Gallery 222 just beckoned me like an old friend.
I did a Facebook live video that is loaded on this blog’s Facebook page but the audio today on every Facebook live thing I tried was messed up, but it is a very nice virtual tool.
The owner, Andrea, is a friend of a friend. And much like walking into JAM which is across the street and down a piece, it’s a comfortable feeling when you enter. And the art is lovely. I saw several pieces that also like at JAM, are reasonably priced.
Andrea said to me that this is her dream to have a gallery. I totally get that, and her dream is ever so lovely. She will also have artist space above the gallery floor, which to me is so cool. She is creating an artists’ colony right in her building!
Malvern having a presence in the local art scene with galleries and artists in residence is a great idea, and so positive for a small town.
Ironically, I have a friend who shares this vision. My friend Sherry Tillman who owns Past*Present*Future in Ardmore, PA and who is an artist in her own right. She had the vision to create First Friday Main Line to put art in unexpected places. For several years before I moved to Chester County, I did the event PR and photography for First Friday Main Line and loved every minute.
Sherry made me remember why I loved local and regional art. It wasn’t about the price point or if they were a listed artist, it was about liking what you saw. Did it evoke an emotion? Strike a memory chord? That was the thing: you liked a piece for whatever reason. And when the art is affordable, you can take that piece of happiness home and look at it every day.
Looking at art is a wonderful experience. And no, you do not have to like all of it. For example, I might be committing art sacrilege but I do not like Picasso anything. I never saw the genius.
I like landscapes. I love portraits that tell a story. I like my farm animals and my farmhouse scenes. I also like a lot of the work of my parents’ friends who are (and were) artists. Joyce De Guatemala, Harry Niblock, Margery Niblock, Noel Miles.
I don’t know the artists of some of the stuff I have picked up over the years. I just bought whatever because I liked it. It made me happy. I have a watercolor of three girls and a dog that was an early 20th century equivalent of sofa art. I found the piece on a trash pile years ago when a developer was getting ready to tear down what was the Clothier House in Haverford on Buck Lane. I saw it and felt bad for a piece of art tossed like a sack of rotting potatoes on the trash pile. I was walking my dogs when I saw it and walked it across Lancaster Avenue and had it re-framed. It has no real value but I like it.
Local artists have a way of connecting us to where we live in very special ways, so I am happy Malvern is becoming a gallery town at one end. I told Andrea today that 222 and JAM should do a Gallery Night – maybe quarterly as the seasons change. I learned from First Friday Main Line that bringing art to the community is so positive, so why not spread the love further in Malvern?
I wish Gallery 222 in Malvern a long and happy existence! I look forward to their next show and JAM Gallery’s as well. I like the idea of Malvern being an art destination.
Gallery 222. 222 East King Street Malvern Pennsylvania 19355
610.608.6636 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving around with my friend Catherine today doing the super amazing Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust house tour, we stumbled upon this crazy desolate looking house in Easttown Township. It looks like it sits on a couple of acres and I think the address is 218 Francis Avenue, Berwyn.
It could be empty or someone could be living there. It looks like a haunted house. There is a chain across the driveway with a bunch of old trash cans and a sign that says “Beware of the Dog” only there are no signs of life. To the right of the house is some sort of boarded up stable or garage – hard to tell from the street.
It sparks the imagination and would be perfect for an M. Night Shyamalan movie.
If anyone has infomation about this house which seems like it was built in early 1900s, please post. It was probably a beautiful house in it’s day.
They call it the Blue Lagoon, and people come from far and wide to cool off in its clear waters.
Yet the flooded former quarry is so polluted that its contents are almost as toxic as bleach.
Signs close to the shoreline warn that not only is the water known to contain abandoned cars, dead animals and human waste, but it has a pH level of 11.3 – compared with 12.6 for bleach and 11.5 for ammonia.
They state how the water is toxic enough to cause ‘skin and eye irritations, stomach problems and fungal infections’.
Ick ick ick….I wonder….Is it a similar situation at Atwater? It is undoubtedly given the dirty toxic past of that area and surrounding area like Bishop Tube not just limestone sludge in that water and shouldn’t that be considered especially given the volume of development and density going in over there? After all, it’s not like there is substantial fencing separating the old quarry from new Tyvec wrapped plastic villages and what not over there are there? And wasn’t there a junk yard near by too?
Experts say quarries can be more dangerous than other bodies of water. For all sorts of reasons.
It looks but is not quite Caribbean Blue. Just food for thought. Who actually owns the quarry in East Whiteland you can see from Atwater, etc?
Life is sometimes this windy path that takes you away from people, and then leads you back to them.
From the time we are little children, people are in and out of our lives for any multitude of reasons. Life takes us in different directions, quite literally. People move, start families in other places, and get busy with the every day of their lives.
All of a sudden, years have past, and you still think of those people, but then you are busy too, so you don’t reconnect even if you think of these people.
And then, just like that, something happens, and you are back in each other’s lives and that is such a neat thing when it happens.
It happened to me today. A four hour conversation with one of my oldest friends from high school. Yes, those Shipley connections and friends I have written about before. That school gave me a wonderful foundation and the best relationships in my life, truly. This woman and I were thick as proverbial thieves for years, and then life just took us in diffferent directions, on different paths.
I will tell you how it came to be, this phone call today….
Recently the younger brother of a friend died of leukemia. I have now lost several people I knew, admired, and cared about to virulent forms of leukemia. This man was the brother of my friend I spoke with today. He fought this disease so valiantly and was so positive.
He passed away and the first thing I thought of was my friend, one of his siblings. So I looked up her address and sent her a note. We had not spoken in a few years, but how could I not? She was the one who introduced me to all her siblings, and well I have these memories of her brother as a little kid because of her. He was this funny, very bright burning ball of energy with a very funny sense of humor. And a very messy bedroom. Truthfully, all of her siblings were truly nice and interesting, even as kids.
When he got older he went to boarding school and then off to college, so I did not really know him for many years, and was just getting to know him as an adult with his own family when he got sick. In the intervening years, his one sister who was my friend and I grew apart. And it was for no other reason than time and distance. She was in another state far enough away starting a family that we just lost touch, and became disconnected.
Yesterday in the mail, was a note for me. Handwriting I had not seen in so many, many years. It was from my friend. I opened it, read it, and wept, It was so good to hear from her and she is so sad about her brother.
So today she called. And it was like high school again. It was such a marathon phone call that in the back of my mind I was waiting for one of our parents to pick up another phone in the respective houses and yell at us to get off the phone and do our homework.
Speaking with her, the years melted away like no time had past even if so many years actually had. But that in and of itself is the value of real friendship – it is O.K. the time has passed, and now it is time to catch up.
This is my friend who introduced me to Chester County more than any other person had when I was a young adult. She went to West Chester University and for a few years she lived in Malvern Borough too. So speaking with her today after all this time, made me so happy, because when I moved out here I started to think about her a lot. Every time I drive by Raintree in Malvern Borough I remember when she and another friend shared a condo there. Or when I drive way down King until it almost meets Lancaster Ave and remember the places she was a hostess and waitress while in school.
Back in the day we would go to the restaurant festival in West Chester, the “Gobble Off” that used to be at what was the Bar and Restaurant the night before Thanksgiving with other friends, hanging out at WCU’s the Rat before she graduated, hanging out with people at the Marshalton Triathalon, dancing at Lionshare and Main Lion and more.
We were also roommates at the beach in the summer for a while. We had a lot of fun together.
And then she moved and the years passed and we lived kind of separate lives, connecting here or there with a random phone call or letter.
When you meet people who are so disappointing, you remember the friends like this. I am a fortunate women to have so many of my old friends still in my life. Thanks to her brothers we are reconnected. That makes me happy. I wish her one brother was still with us to know, but somehow I would like to think he does.
I saw the notice of a house sale on a Facebook yard sale group page for West Chester. What caught my eye was the print above.
The subject is now a man not far from my age named Mark. They were done by his late father when we were all kids in Society Hill. It’s a set of four originally, there were three available.
The artist was Harry Niblock. He and his former wife also a tremendous artist, Margery Niblock, were dear friends of my parents and Margery is still a friend of mine. Our whole family has pieces of their art, and a lot of memories attached to the art especially because as a child I remember when a lot of it was actually created which is really cool.
So I went to the sale. What I wasn’t expecting is I would know the person whose house was having a house sale. She wasn’t there, but she was a woman I knew from the time I was a little girl.
This lady was widowed twice. Her first husband I knew as a little girl and her second husband I also knew for a lot longer, because he had been married to one of my mother’s closest and best friends and my mother had introduced the lady and this gentleman when they were both widowed. They subsequently married and he died.
So walking around the sale was a little emotionally loaded. I saw items from the households of two different couples, and their years together. I think what really upset me the most was the fact that there were items that belong to the second husband’s army career. Even a baby picture of the son, his namesake.
Seeing his various stages of career Army uniform is hanging on a rolling rack actually brought tears to my eyes and upset me. This man did some time in Vietnam. A couple of tours my mother said, and she also said she only ever remembers him talking about it twice. Ever. He was a great guy, a true soldier who loved his family too. I have really fond memories of him.
So I bought some things, namely Harry’s prints and one of Margery’s I didn’t have but remembered fondly. The Margery Niblock prints for sale or the series of prints her friends received every year in lieu of a Christmas card for years. I have quite a few framed and hanging on my own walls. I don’t know how valuable they are, but they are extraordinarily sentimental. Margery taught me as a girl to do linoleum and wood block.
Now I’m sitting in my car before I go home writing this down because it was almost a surreal experience. Flashback memories of two different families and my own childhood.
I hope the lady who is moving enjoys her new home. What a morning for memories.
Imagine all of this if 350 or whatever the exact number of houses get approved and built on Crebilly in Westtown. Of course it also makes you realize that Chester County Planning is somewhat asleep at the wheel when it comes to regional planning and so called “smart growth” doesn’t it?
What is so smart about this? Seems pretty dumb to me. I realize I am but a mere mortal and a female, but that is what I think.
Anyway, Westtown apparently has a Supervisors’ Meeting September 19. People should start asking them about things like traffic….just saying…..
Near / at 926 Picture of rt 202 traffic 5:30 pm
Backup along Crebilly at new street heading toward 926 Actually blocks the entrance to the farm and Robinson’s house
During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.
Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.
“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.
Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.
“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Ok that’s all nice and fluffy, but how are you preserving open space REALLY? What land are you saving? Look at all the parts of Chester County at risk, what are you doing? You guys talk a good game, but to be honest I lost faith in you when you hired Brian O’Leary whom I remembered none too fondly from Lower Merion Township where developers say “jump!” and Lower Merion says “how high?”
POSTED: 09/16/15, 3:46 PM EDT|UPDATED: ON 09/16/2015
A Montgomery County official will be the new head of the Chester County Planning Commission, and will be counted on to oversee the future update of the county’s award-winning land and community planning document, Landscapes2, in the coming four years.
The county commissioners announced the appointment of Brian O’Leary as executive director at their meeting Tuesday. O’Leary currently serves as section chief on the Montgomery County Planning Commission, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.
O’Leary replaces former county Planning Commission Executive Director Ronald Bailey, who retired in June. Bailey had served as head of the commission since 2006. O’Leary will formally begin his work in the county on Oct. 5.
Lower Merion Township will ultimately be ruined by all the development still coming at it, and Montgomery County is a giant development mess.
As the county planning commission you are supposed to seek balance, where is that balance exactly? How are the rights of existing residents being preserved? How is the agricultural and equine history, tradition, and culture being honored? When arable farmland and open space is gone, it’s gone.
How many developments do we need ? How come residents do not truly get a say in this? I mean you say you want our input, so we give it to you, and up pops another development or strip mall. It is a bit frustrating.
What are you doing to save Crebilly Farm???? Bryn Coed??? Any open space and farmland anywhere throughout the county? Do you care about ANY of the historic structures threatened throughout the county at all?
How is any of the current development “smart” growth? Your Brian O’Leary is even on the board of the Smart Growth Alliance, and allow me to quote them on him:
Through his work in local planning, Brian has seen the importance of smart growth. With smart growth, new development is focused towards existing communities, helping these places revitalize, improve their infrastructure, and create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods. Without smart growth, farmland is lost, people’s transportation choices are limited, and the economy suffers.
So are we supposed to all hop into our smart cars now and jump on board the New Urbanism Fairy Tale Express? Brian O’Leary is a resident of Penn Wynne or Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township so seriously, what does he know from open space? And that is whose hands our future is in? Have any of you dealt with the congestion that is the Main Line recently? Or seen community after community torn asunder by development and the constant whirl of political shell games? Well I did, and I want better for the gorgeous county I now call home.
The news last week that Crebilly Farm, a picturesque 300-plus-acre property in Westtown Township, was poised to become a 300-unit Toll Brothers subdivision, prompted swift public outcry.
Hundreds of area residents took to social media, many expressing outrage as well as interest in doing whatever possible to stop the bulldozers. Dr. Ryan K. Tamburrino, an area orthodontist, even pledged to donate $300 to the cause for each new patient he receives in July who mentions the preservation effort.
However, questions remain about what, if anything, can prevent Westtown Township’s conditional-use approval, particularly since the developer’s preliminary plans fall within township guidelines.
Speaking at an information session on Thursday, June 30, Andrew J. Semon, a division president for Toll Brothers, said the agreement of sale is contingent upon getting that approval. He said he expected the developer to submit an application later this summer.
Chester County Planning, as the planning department you hold the public’s trust. So what are you doing for us exactly? Why is it we should “trust” you?
You do not seem to be slowing down development after development which each one after the other is a cram plan like:
How are those Stepford communities preserving Chester County? Do we have a new agricultural crop known as plastic houses? Does it go with the hideous and dangerous gas pipelines which are snaking through our communities at an increasing rate?
But I digress. No pipeline talk today, back to all this development.
These developments are not good planning for the residents of Chester County. These developments are good for lining the pockets of the developers who built them….and then they leave. They give municipalities a short term junkie fix of ratables and then they have to be sustained and are they long term? Or will we eventually end up with development ghost towns like discussed in this Atlantic article from 2011:
There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, that have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.
Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended……..Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns.
……These are the American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. Each has a population of more than 10,000 along with vacancy rates of more than 55%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Is that our future? It very well could be. Unless Chester County Residents rise up now and take back our county.
Yes, them’s fighting words according to some, but when the head of the county planning department doesn’t even actually live in Chester County, how does he truly get it?
The answer is he can’t. He is not living in our communities, he merely has a job here, collects a salary in the county, and goes back home to a place very different from us. Not being mean, it’s just the truth.
Chester County residents deserve better.
But how do we get there before the county is destroyed by wanton development?
Here is Brian O’Leary’s e-mail if you would like to contact him to ask him about Crebilly or anyplace else in the county facing wanton development : email@example.com
The photos were sent to me with the following message:
Radnor Twp has let The Willows Assets deteriorate to a point of no return. Anyone know what the plaque represents below?
Who was Candy Hill?
The Willows was a mighty fine property. A house, never a mansion. The architect was my dear friend Sara’s grandfather Charles Barton Keen (Keen is being discussed this month during a couple of Chester County Historical Society Events as a matter of fact.)
The Willows started out life in 1910 for John Sinnott Jr., the estate was originally called “Rose Garland.”
The Zantzinger family began ownership in the 1930s, and renamed the estate “Maral Brook.” Alfred Zantzinger (1907-1972) married Mary Geist in 1937 and what we know as the Willows today became their home. Their son Alfred (“Gei”) was an ethnomusicologist and independent filmmaker who lived in Devault and is still remembered on the Charlestown Township website to this day. One of Alfred the younger’s sons is a high school friend of one of my closest friends – at one time he had lent me marvelous old family photos of the Willows, but I lost them on an old computer unfortunately.
Radnor Township purchased the property ca. 1972-73, and it has been a public park and event space ever since. Now truthfully The Willows was acquired via eminent domain (See “Willows Ordinance“.)
But I digress.
No one can get their act together about the Willows in a way that makes sense. Apparently it will be discussed at some point this fall again in Radnor, but in the meantime who is this lady the plaque was dedicated to?
Seems so sad.
Thanks to my friend Tim for the use of his photos.
Shame on you Radnor for not taking better care of a property you are stewards of. And if in the end the house that is not a mansion is demolished, care MUST be taken with this plaque that it is not lost forever. Whomever she was she meant something to people.
Remember the state of things like this in Radnor when you go to the polls in November since one of their commissioners is under the delusion she can be an effective state representative in PA 165 – Elaine Paul Schaefer – affectionately know as Elaine Paul Sing Song Voice to some. She loves the cows at Ardrossan, but has been ineffective problem solving across the road at the Willows. Ask her and the other present and former Radnor Conservancy members about the state of the Willows Cottage, ok? I hear it can be summed up with one word: mold and is that true? And if so why? They got gobs of money a few short years ago to put that cottage right, correct?